A Good Ache

We dropped Em off at school today for his first full day. I keep checking my phone to make sure they haven’t called letting me know he hasn’t stopped crying. I keep checking the clock to make sure I didn’t enter a time-warp and I’m actually hours late picking him up so they gave him to another parent.

I miss him. I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but I miss him.

After I left, I had the best run I’ve had in months. I think it’s related to how I am feeling. I imagine I wanted to not let myself think about it. Sometimes the best way for me to do that is to beat myself up physically.

So I ran. I ran really, really long and hard.

Is this how people cope with losing a parent, child or spouse? I found this thought meander through my head as I walked home.

I felt immediately shameful and sought to apologize to anyone.

This isn’t the first time I have thought this.

When Toby and I were packing boxes to move from Russell Street to where we are now, Em stayed with my mother for two nights. We were midway through putting Emory’s toys into boxes, when I tearily looked at Toby and said, “Awwww, I miss him.”

“I know! Me too! But he’s not dead.” Toby said. “We’ll see him tomorrow.”

I know, that probably seems like a pretty harsh thing to say, and out loud. But it was precisely what I had been wondering about but unable to say. The taboo many prefer to ignore was suddenly filling our half empty apartment.

“How do people deal with losing a child? There’s no way I could do this.” I said referring to boxing up a bunch toys and clothing. “I cry just boxing up clothing that no longer fits him!”

“You know, I hope to never have the answer to that.” Toby said, sealing the hole again.

Sometimes I think I let my mind “go there” in order to mingle with an ache I hope to never know firsthand.

That particular ache is something undefined, impossible to know—wordless. That ache exists all around us but it’s rarely let out into the room.

I hope to never know that ache.

But the ache I’m feeling now is a good ache. I miss him, sure, but I know that he’s having a blast and I know I’ll get to scoop him up in just a few short hours. This is the good ache.

I am lucky to know this ache.

(This post turned out to be really depressing and I hadn’t meant for that. I’m actually in good spirits. I am truly sorry for bringing up quite possibly one of the ugliest thoughts imaginable. My apologies all around.)

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